Round 8 Review – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

The Easter weekend saw a typically feisty round of games in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition, with a couple of strikers who can’t stop scoring, as well as plenty of late drama.

Match of the Round: Central Coast Mariners FC vs Macarthur Rams FC

Central Coast Mariners moved into fifth place on Sunday afternoon after a convincing 4-0 victory over Macarthur Rams at Pluim Park.

Dylan Ruiz-Diaz led the way with a hat trick, with Peter Kekeris adding a goal from the penalty spot. The win means that the Mariners are now unbeaten in their last three games.

The first chance of the game fell to Central Coast midfielder Bilal Belkadi, with his volley going wide of the goal.

Ruiz-Diaz then showed great skill to beat two defenders, before fizzing a ball across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.

Macarthur’s first real opportunity came the way of Craig Cooley after he gained possession 25 yards out, but he was unable to hit the target.

As the game began to open up, the deadlock was broken ten minutes before the interval. Ruiz-Diaz was fouled 30 yards out from goal and he made the Rams pay, curling a brilliant free kick over the wall and into the top corner.

Ruiz-Diaz then almost doubled his tally for the afternoon a couple of minutes later, with his left footed drive going just past the post.

The Mariners kept the pressure on, and neat interplay between Charles William and Joshua Nisbet saw William’s shot blocked. In the resulting scramble a Nisbet header trickled agonisingly wide.

Ruiz-Diaz continued to be a thorn in Macarthur’s side after the break, and he almost scored a contender for Goal of the Season, dribbling past three defenders and smacking a shot off the post.

There was some individual brilliance at the other end as well, and the outstretched leg of Central Coast goalkeeper Aidan Munford was the only thing preventing the Rams from drawing level after Clement Ebahece Waoci had tricked his way past three opponents.

Munford’s save would prove vital as the Mariners doubled their lead on the hour mark. Jordan Smylie won a penalty after being tripped by Michael Stojanovski, and Kekeris kept his composure, slamming the spot kick into the bottom corner.

After a scrappy period with little to speak of in terms of goalmouth action, a third Central Coast goal meant there was no chance of Macarthur hopes being resurrected.

Belkadi started the move, releasing substitute Michael Katsoulis on the right side. Rams goalkeeper Jacob Madden was able to parry the shot from Katsoulis, however Ruiz-Diaz was in the right place to double his tally for the afternoon.

Ruiz-Diaz then thought he had completed his hat trick a few minutes later after finishing from a Katsoulis cross, but the flag went up for offside.

Despite a late send off for Mariners defender Lewis Miller after a second bookable offence, as well as a flurry of Macarthur set pieces, the yellow & navy were comfortable, and there was even time for Ruiz-Diaz to get his third of the game.

Jordan Smylie was key in the buildup, evading two defenders before finding Ruiz-Diaz, who turned and placed the ball in the far corner to bring his tally to seven goals for the season.

After some inconsistency in the early weeks of the campaign, Central Coast look to have found some form, at the expense of the Rams, who had another tough day at the office.

Next week, Macarthur return to Lynwood Park for an important clash against Canterbury Bankstown, while Central Coast travel to Lily Homes Stadium to meet Hills United.

Match Stats

Central Coast Mariners FC 4 (Dylan Ruiz-Diaz 35’ 76’ 90+2’, Peter Kekeris 60’) def Macarthur Rams FC 0

Saturday 20 April 2019

at Pluim Park

Referee: Matthew Riedy

Assistants: Brodie Merchant and Liam Webb

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Aidan MUNFORD, 3. Lewis MILLER, 4. Michael GLASSOCK, 9. Jordan SMYLIE, 10. Charles WILLIAM (7. Michael KATSOULIS 46’), 12. Ollie VALENTINE, 14. Alec VINCI, 15. Bilal BELKADI, 17. Joshua NISBET, 18. Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ, 19. Peter KEKERIS (11. Emmanuel PETERS 78’)

Subs not used: 2. Nicholas FAUST, 6. Matthew BUETTNER, 20. Joe GAUCI

Yellow cards: 19. Peter KEKERIS 10’, 3. Lewis MILLER 45+4’ 86’, 3. Michael GLASSOCK 64’, 18. Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ 64’

Red card: 3. Lewis MILLER 86’

Macarthur Rams: 20. Jacob MADDEN, 2. Craig COOLEY, 3. Danny LAZAREVSKI, 4. Cooper HANAGAN (11. Sam ONANA AWONO 46’), 6. Masudi ELONGO, 9. Eli SQUILLACIOTI (8. Anthony HADDAD 61’), 12. Michael STOJANOVSKI, 14. Jamie DIB, 15. Clement EBAHECE WAOCI (10. Ben CORNISH 75’), 18. Chris SHEERIN, 19. Matthew TROTTER

Subs not used: 7. Matthew SADLER, 40 Tristan MICHELMANN

Yellow cards: 6. Masudi ELONGO 56’, 15. Clement EBAHECE WAOCI 67’

North Shore Mariners FC 3 (Mitchell Smith 41’ 67’, Daniel Saric 90’) vs Canterbury Bankstown FC 0

In the Saturday afternoon fixture, North Shore Mariners kept the pressure on league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers with a dominant display at Northbridge Oval.

After a cagey opening to the game, the Mariners took the lead just before halftime, with Mitchell Smith turning and finishing well off a pinpoint cross from Ricky Woodward.

Canterbury had some decent spells in the second half, but it was that man Mitchell Smith who would score again midway through the second stanza, finding the bottom corner after a lovely chipped pass from Marquin Smith.

North Shore rounded off the scoring in the 90th minute thanks to a couple of substitutes, as Nathan Separovic broke free on the counter and set up Daniel Saric for an easy finish.

Blacktown Spartans FC (Shun Tokuno 63’, Lachlan Rose 90+1’) FC 2 vs Rydalmere Lions FC 1 (Luke Grima 90’)

Blacktown Spartans were able to move back into the winner’s circle with a dramatic win over Rydalmere Lions on Saturday night.

The spectators at Blacktown Football Park were treated to an absorbing contest, with both teams able to create plenty of chances. It was the Spartans would open the scoring in the second half via a free kick from Shun Tokuno.

The Lions persisted, and finally got their reward in the 90th minute when Luke Grima finished off a lovely team move. However, there was a final twist in the tale, and Spartans went straight for goal from the kickoff, with Lachlan Rose breaking free of the defence to score a dramatic injury time winner.

GHFA Spirit FC 2 (Louis Bozanic 26’, 34’) vs Hills United FC 1 (Daniel Fogarty 31’)

It was a narrow but deserved victory at Christie Park for Spirit FC, who leapfrogged their opponents on the table.

In a highly entertaining first half, Spirit midfielder Louis Bozanic opened the scoring with a clever free kick that snuck under the wall.

Hills responded a few minutes later, with Daniel Fogarty finishing off a swift counter attack. However, parity would be short lived, and Spirit would lead into halftime after a well-worked passing move resulted in Bozanic flicking the ball home from Andy Robertson’s cross for his second of the evening.

It was real backs-to-the-wall stuff for United after the interval due to red cards for Marcus Zarantonello and Glen Kelshaw, but to their credit they hung on with nine men, with their goalkeeper Shaun Catlin making some important saves. Hills could even have snatched an unlikely point with two minutes left after Daniel Fogarty reacted quickest to a loose ball, but his shot hit the crossbar.

St George FC 1 (Bradley Bartels 66’) vs Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Marley Peterson 1’, Mohamed Adam 80’)

In a frantic and hard-fought game at Ilinden Sports Centre, it was the Wanderers who would prevail, maintaining their one point lead at the top of the league.

The youngsters in red & black got off to a dream start when Marley Peterson blasted the ball home from outside the area in the opening minute.

The Wanderers sent plenty of dangerous balls into the penalty area early on, but St George would impose themselves on the contest, and Aleksandar Lekoski thought he had found an equalizer after rounding the goalkeeper, only to be denied by a block from Noah Pagden.

St George’s pressure finally told in the second half when Bradley Bartels broke through and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

The Saints were then denied by two goalline clearances in the space of a minute, but Wanderers forward Mohamed Adam would end up being the hero ten minutes from time, netting his ninth goal after the season after being set up by Wanderers substitute Lochlan Constable.

Northern Tigers FC 1 (Shervin Adeli 80’) vs Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1 (Aaron Peterson 5’)

Goals at either end of the match meant the points were shared in this intriguing contest at North Turramurra Recreation Area.

Big striker Aaron Peterson got Bonnyrigg off to a flyer with a well-taken strike in the fifth minute, turning and smashing the ball in off the post.

Greg Kondek almost got a second for the away side, but this time the bounce didn’t work in their favour, with the ball coming off the post via the fingertips of the Tigers goalkeeper.

However, the Tigers were able to hold their own, and that save would prove crucial, as Northern Tigers equalised late on after Shervin Adeli capitalised on a defensive error.

Mounties Wanderers FC 4 (Noah Chianese, Mitchell Davidson, Bruno Pivato, Joshua Viera) vs St George City FA 0

Mounties ended a two game losing streak after a clinical performance against St George City FA at Sydney United Sports Centre.

An early goal for Mounties set the tone, and although St George City had their fair share of possession and chances, Brian Brown’s side stepped it up after the break, with three more unanswered goals.

In the end, a deserved win for Mounties, who showed the variety of attacking threats at their disposal, with Noah Chianese, Mitchell Davidson, Bruno Pivato, and Joshua Viera finding the back of the net.

Midweek Round 3 catchup game: Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 (James Armson 51’) vs Mounties Wanderers 0

On Tuesday night, Bonnyrigg White Eagles prevailed in a tight contest against Mounties Wanderers at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.

Defences were on top in the first half, with the breakthrough coming just after halftime when James Armson sent a 25 yard rocket into the bottom corner.

Bonnyrigg struck the woodwork soon afterwards, but the miss didn’t come back to haunt them, despite some late Mounties pressure.

By Eric Subijano

Twitter – @eric_subijano

Source FNSW Website